Even though a lot of people have been impressed with what they have seen from Adebayo this season, Heat president Pat Riley gave him the ultimate compliment, saying he reminded Riley of Heat legend Dwyane Wade.
“He reminds me a lot of Dwyane and Dwyane’s attitude,” Riley said. “Dwyane came in, he was a no-nonsense guy, he went to work and he became a great player. And he had an attitude, and a competitiveness and killer instinct. Besides the talent, but he had this attitude that was above and beyond and I think that’s what Bam is.
“Bam possesses this attitude about doing it the right way and doing it every day. He is a pleasure to coach and I think Spo (Erik Spoesltra) has looked at him with so much respect that he has put him in a position to be successful, and Bam has shown right back to coach that, ‘I really appreciate your level of trust in me and I’m gonna deliver something for you big time.’ That’s how I look at Bam, he’s just an incredible human being.”
Adebayo averaged 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game coming off the bench during the 2018-19 season.
This year, he is averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, starting in all 65 games the Heat played before the regular season was suspended.
To be compared to Wade at this point in his career is significant, especially when the comparison is coming from Riley, who has coached some of the greatest players in NBA history.
In his third year in the league, Wade averaged 27.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game while leading the Heat to their first NBA championship. In his third year, Adebayo has the Heat in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Even though his team is 12 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the best record in the league, Adebayo believes the Heat will defeat the Bucks if they meet in the playoffs when the league resumes play.